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SARDI @ Waite Campus

Paul Ingram is a manager of the Greenhouses at the Plant Research Centre within the Waite Campus which falls under the South Australian Research and Development Institute or SARDI as it is commonly known.

Paul has had a staff retention issue with a particular position, being that of a greenhouse plant pot washer. The job entailed that the plant pots be thoroughly cleaned so that they could be reused for research purposes. Given the nature of the position, Paul found it difficult to retain staff and keep them motivated.

His daughter (who works with people with disabilities) suggested that a person with a disability would perform well in the particular role and possibly would alleviate his retention problem.

Investigations by Paul into hiring a person with a disability led to a connection to a local Disability Employment Network (SA Career Consultants) who set up a work experience trial for two people with disabilities over a one week period. Joe Saunders who works for SA Career Consultants supported the work experience candidates whilst on the job and provided advice to the candidates to meet Paul's quality and productivity requirements.

Over that one week work experience, Paul identified Andrew McGregor as being a willing and motivated worker. Andrew has a mild learning disorder and requires only a supportive manager and extra time to perform in his role.

Paul went to his human resource team to set up the hiring of Andrew and learned about the service provided by Disability Works Australia (DWA) who manages the State Government Register for people with a disability.

DWA effectively worked with SA Career Consultants and facilitated Andrew's application for employment with SARDI.

Andrew's job would include many functions of a general hand but his mild learning disorder meant Andrew's productivity level was lower than the average worker. SA Career Consultants advised Paul of an employer incentive called the Supported Wage System (SWS). The SWS makes it legal for an employer, in this case SARDI, to pay a productivity based wage if an assessment was carried out when he started at SARDI, however Andrew's productivity has improved over a short space of time and a follow up assessment after three months has seen his productivity and thus wage rate improve.

Paul states that Andrew is performing well in his role and has now further developed by attaining his forklift license. Paul also believes his productivity has also improved and indicated that he would not be surprised if Andrew's productivity increased further in the future.

The benefits for Paul in employing Andrew are numerous.

Firstly, Andrew is a happy, enthusiastic and motivated worker. Paul knows that Andrew enjoys the work and the role. In the past, Paul has found it difficult to motivate workers in the position but that's not the case with Andrew. Secondly, Andrew is fulfilled in the role and is developing himself as he interacts within the team environment. The team also is becoming more understanding of Andrew's disability and thus the culture of the team has an added dimension it previously did not have. Finally, Andrew values his new position with SARDI and both parties are benefiting from the experience.

Andrews quick development in the role has seen his responsibilities also grom. Andrew is undertaking a number of new tasks and is keen to develop these with determined enthusiasm.

 

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